The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 420
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and bouts with malaria, dysentery, dengue fever, and tropical skin ulcers made
worse by the absence of medical supplies of any kind. Work details varied great-
ly. Some were volunteer assignments that provided welcome escape from the
monotony of incarceration. None was worse than forced labor throughout
1943 on the railroad the Japanese constructed through mountains and jungles
to link Bangkok, Thailand with Rangoon, Burma.
Despite the use of the term "death camps" in the subtitle, this slender volume
is remarkably temperate in tone and even-handed in its treatment of volatile
subject matter. Critical of the barbaric conditions at Serang City Prison in Java
and ioo Kilo Camp in the Burma jungle, Weissinger acknowledges the adequa-
cy of other facilities at which he was kept such as Bicycle Camp in Batavia and
another at Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Nor are his captors dehumanized. Writing
two decades after the fact, the author describes the brutal actions of some
Japanese soldiers but recounts the altogether human behavior of others. These
guards wanted to learn English, share family histories, and, above all else, sur-
vive the war. Surprisingly, it is not a unrelentingly grim book. The former POW
passes along memories of softball games and music concerts in camp, stealing
chickens reserved for British officers in the dead of night, and sharing illicitly-
brewed sake with Japanese guards who uncovered the prisoners' still.
Eunell Weissinger is to be congratulated for putting her husband's manu-
script in publishable form following his death in 1988 and Eakin Press com-
mended for bringing this history through one participant's eyes to the reading
public. The work is highly recommended.
Austin Community College L. PATRICK HUGHES
Texas, Her Texas: The Life and Times of Frances Goff. By Nancy Beck Young and
Lewis L. Gould. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1997. Pp.
xvi+224. Preface, foreword, introduction, illustrations, sources, index. ISBN
0-87611-159-2. $29.95, cloth).
From the time that she was a young girl of twelve in 1928, Frances Goff was
always fascinated by politics and government. For her, understanding the politi-
cal system was basic to American democracy, and she devoted her time and
energies to working in and teaching other women about the governments of
Texas and United States.
The best example of her ideals was her own life. At the age of twenty-one she
began working for a state legislator in Austin in 1937. Later she served as one of
Pappy O'Daniel's secretaries and then back to the legislature as part of the staff
of the House Appropriations Committee. With the outbreak of World War II she
joined the WACs in 1944 and upon her discharge in 1946 she was appointed
state budget director for the legislature. Then in the early 1950s she began her
forty-three-year association with M. D. Anderson hospital in Houston. As the
assistant to the Director, she used her knowledge of the legislature, state govern-
ment operations, and fund-raising to advance the hospital's leadership in cancer
research and treatment. At the same time she was growing more involved in the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/477/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.